So I just put a 7-bar batch of (probably sucessful! At least it actually traced properly, so things are boding well) unscented soap into the “incubator” (read: big pink blanket) to cook for a couple of days, and I’m feeling hopeful. On Saturday, I’ll pull it out and set it to cure on the Soap Shelf and, hopefully, I’ll be well on my way to reliably making successful soap again.
That would be awesome!
BUT! That’s not actually what I’m blogging to tell you about right now. Bear with me:
Okay. My girlfriend and I went to Montreal with some phamily last weekend. It was quite glorious. We walked through the Village (which has strings of pink xmas balls hanging above St Catherine… I think they’re in part used for pigeon control, but they seriously make me feel like (a) I must wear Fabulous Shoes and carry a parasol while in Montreal’s Village, and (b) like I’ve actually gone Over The Rainbow. It’s gloriously whimsical. I want to see that kind of thing done here. :-D) We sat in a big park and watch the bike race go by. We had lunch in a cafe (I had chocoalte fruit crepes… which were totally not as good as I’d hoped, but were still tasty) and nachoes at 1000 Grammes, and we went to a really fanTAStic restaurant for dinner.
I am a foodie. Give me a glorious banquet, and I will sing your praises.
(To that end, if you’re in Montreal and have a heap of cash lying around for a Special Occasion, do go and check out Au Petit Extra. Their Confit de canard en salade is just heaven in a bowl, let me tell you! 😀
But, anyway, as I was saying: It was fanTAStic. Not only was the food delicious, but they were using seasonal ingredients (asparagus soup and rhubarb tart, for example, plus a salad of greens and slivered beets and carrots) and we had a view of the kitchen!
I swear, I just about cried at the beauty of the huge bouquet of ruby-pink rhubarb that one of the chefs was cutting at the back of the kitchen.
Just beautiful! 😀
And, consequently, I find myself wanting to cook with rhubarb.
Now, I bought the rhubarb that I’m using in this recipe. Until now, I hadn’t done that before (there was usually some available from a parent/friend/neighbour desperate to prune their enormous rhubarb patch, so…). Part of me still wants to walk up the street and cut a bunch from a neighbour’s front garden but… I don’t think they’d appreciate that much.
With all that in mind, I offer you this:
Rhubarb Custard Flan for Two
1 stalk of fresh rhubarb, washed and chopped into very thin rounds
1/2 C vanilla cookie crumbs (or similar)
2 tbsp butter
1/2 C milk
1/4 C sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1) Combine the crumbs and the butter in a small bowl and mix until you have a sticky, but not TOO sticky consistency.
2) Pat mixture into a small pie plate
3) Bake the crust (I put it on a cookie sheet to make it easier to handle) at 350F for 10 minutes or until golden brown
4) While the crust is baking, wash and chop the rhubarb. Rounds should be about 2mm-3mm wide (less than 1/4″)
5) Take the crust out of the oven
6) Put the chopped rhubarb into the crust
7) Make the Custard:
7a) In a small pot, whisk the egg with the sugar until it is “lemony” (pale yellow and well-mixed without much in the way of obviously unmixed white or yolk)
7b) Add the milk, salt, and vanilla and whisk until well-blended
7c) Put the pot on the stove and heat the mixture on Medium, whisking constantly
7d) When the custard begins to thicken (about 5 minutes), take it off the heat, but continue whisking for a little bit (call it another 30-60 seconds)
8) Pour the custard over the rhubarb
9) Put the small pie plate into a baking dish half-filled with water
10) Bake for an hour at 300F (or until custard bounces back when tapped lightly)
11) Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes
12) Serve and enjoy. 😀
So there you have it. A quick (I’d call it about 15-20 minutes, not counting the actual cooking time) dessert using the first fruit of the season. 😀
To make this dish a little more local, you can:
Use 1/4 C maple syrup + 1/3 C milk in lieu of the sugar and milk called for in the recipe.
You can also use artificial vanilla, or use a tincture of elderflower or lindenflower (as one reader suggested) in lieu of the vanilla.
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 This is, I realize, also due to my own local-seasonal food proclivities. It’s available (and not a lot of other fruit – beyond a few lingering apples – is, unless it’s jam), so I want to use it!
 Yes, that’s a lot of vanilla for such a small pie. Bear with me.
 I’m using the kind of aluminium dishes that you get when you want to make Individual Chicken Pot Pies, for example. But you could prabably(?) make this work with a 6″ pie plate, too.
 I used another aluminum pan, this one an 9″ round cake pan.
 I’m making this for dinner, so it’ll be in there all day.